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Match Preview: Oxford City Lions vs Manchester - FA Futsal Super League

by Nathan Linley

Manchester return to FA Futsal Super League action this weekend as they prepare to make the long journey south to face Oxford City Lions.

The Blues will go into the game with an impressive form of late, three back-to-back wins and 15 points picked up out of a possible 18 have put Manchester in a healthy position going into the Christmas break.

Danny Stapleton and Joaquin ‘Kimet’ Garcia helped Manchester on their way to a 7-2 victory against Cambridge United last weekend, in what was arguably their best performance of the season so far which sees them in joint 2nd place alongside Sussex and Loughborough in the Super League table.

The hosts have been struggling of late after a strong start to the season, a 5-0 victory against Southend put to end a run of five straight defeats for the Yellows and will use their victory as a starting point for their momentum to build going into the second half of the season. Despite this, they are still just three points adrift of Sussex in the standings.

Denilson and Luis Audibert will be ones to watch for the opposition come kick-off, both scoring 15 goals combined this campaign.

Head Coach Sergi Saldana spoke with about the current mood in the camp and also what he expects to come out of the game on Sunday, and he confirmed that new signing Peyman Sarlakchivaei will be expected to make his debut for Manchester.

Here’s what he had to say.


Manchester are on a great run at the moment and the development players have had a big say on your side's recent form. What are your overall thoughts on the season so far?

We have to work hard and try to correct our mistakes because some of them are basic that we should avoid. If you ask me about my thoughts on the season so far, I think that we have made a step forward from last month, but anyway, I think that we need to be more committed, especially in training sessions. It's nice and I'm happy to see how the development players are contributing in our sessions, and also in games, but we should have first team players training because in the end you learn the tactics and how to play in trainings.

Any news on Kenna Ngoma's hamstring and any other team news to share?

Kenna is better of his injury but he's abroad, so he won't be able to play. Danny [Stapleton] had discomfort for the Northern Ireland games and he's probably not going to be able either. We are waiting for the scan results, but it seems that Salim [Karimi] is going to be without playing for a long period of time because he probably has an injury to his ACL. Hopefully it is only a sprain, but we will see. Debón is not available and he's not going to play for most of away games because of his job. On the other hand, we will have Peyman's [Sarlakchivaei] debut after a month training with us.

What are your thoughts on the opposition?

Oxford have only 3 points less than us and you can see how they have competed against strong teams like Helvecia, Sussex or Birmingham where they only have lost by two goals. In their court, it is going to be difficult to beat them because it is not a big court and they know how to play there, we will have to adapt. This game is important to see if we can stay fighting to be in the top of the league but anyway, there are a lot of games still to play. 

Any predictions on the game?

I think it's going be a close game where we will have to be very concentrated and give our best to get the points in there. I still remember last season where we hit the post five times and in the end we tied 3-3. Hopefully this time we will have more luck.

Manchester’s Super League clash against Oxford City gets underway at 5pm on Sunday.